Safely Fire Up Your Backyard Grill

Summer is the prime cookout season — a sizzling grill, hamburgers, hot dogs and a cold glass of iced tea to top it off. While backyard barbecues often create treasured memories with family and friends, outdoor grilling can also increase your chances of a home fire, especially if you’re not mindful of specific safety measures.

Every year, thousands of residents report severe injuries and damages to their homes from a grilling accident. You can prevent these accidents by taking some simple precautions. Here are a few safety tips to help ensure you and your home stay safe during your next barbecue.

All Grills

  • Place the grill on a level surface outdoors at least 10 feet away from anything that could be ignited by flames (i.e., bushes, fences).
  • Keep your grill clean and well maintained. Also, be sure to check all parts regularly to determine if replacements are needed.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby and know how to use it properly before firing up your grill.
  • Never leave a hot grill unattended or let children or pets play near it.

Charcoal Grills

  • Never add lighter fluid directly to hot coals, as this could cause the flames to travel up the stream of fluid and burn you.
  • Never use gasoline or kerosene to light a charcoal fire.
  • Be sure to use flame-retardant mitts and long-handled barbecue tongs, as coals can reach up to 1,000 degrees.
  • Allow ashes to cool for at least 48 hours before disposal in a non-combustible container. If you cannot wait 48 hours, carefully pour water over the charcoal and stir to cool ash quickly and completely.

Gas Grills

  • Always check the grill’s hoses for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If your grill continues to leak after being shut off, call the fire department.
  • If you smell gas while cooking, immediately move away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not attempt to move the grill.
  • Never keep a filled propane tank in a hot car or trunk. When getting containers refilled, make that your last stop before going home.
  • Store propane tanks in an upright position and never indoors.

Regardless of the type of grill you own, your safety is our main priority. Smart grilling practices, coupled with the right insurance policy, can make your backyard barbecues more enjoyable. Contact an RBFCU Insurance Agent to make sure your homeowners policy covers your property and valuables in the event of a grill accident.

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Article prepared by Safeco Insurance. Copyright 2021 May 2021

RBFCU Insurance Agency LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of RBFCU Services LLC. RBFCU Services LLC is affiliated with Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union (RBFCU). Insurance products are not deposits; are not obligations of the credit union; not NCUA insured; and not guaranteed by RBFCU Insurance Agency LLC, RBFCU Services LLC or RBFCU.

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